The Quirks in the Sarah Palin Emails
ANCHORAGE—For Sarah Palin, it is almost a term of art.
When something goes wrong, it's not just bad, it's "unflippinbelievable," or alternately, "flippin unbelievable."
Palin's repeated use of the softer version of the coarser expletive is just one of the amusing observations to emerge from the thousands of pages of her email conversations between December 2006 and September 2008 made public on Friday.
"Unflippinbelievable. Please have him clarify asap," Palin wrote in an Aug. 4. 2008 missive to several aides in response to a quote in a newspaper article that the governor did not like.
On July 9, 2008, she has a similarly unfavorable reaction to a story in the Anchorage Daily News, telling staffers, "It's flippin unbelievable that the ADN allows lies like this to be posted. I'm calling."
She deployed another variation on July 3, 2008: "And flippin' a...do they need an explanation for Trig being there also, in his snugglie," she wrote, expressing disdain for a reporter's inquiries about Palin's use of state funds to ferry her children to official events.
At other times, Palin flips the word on its head to convey excitement rather than disgust.
"Can you flippinbelieveit?" she wrote to a top administration official who wrote her a congratulatory note after Palin delivered her vice presidential acceptance speech at the 2008 Republican national convention. (The official opened the email exchange with a message bearing the subject line: "Un-Flippin-Believable.")
Of course, Palin also used the term in its more traditional form, as in: "Ill see you flippin' burgers in a couple of hours.' She wrote that to a group of her closest aides, presumably in preparation for a barbeque in the summer of 2008.
Another favorite term of Palin's: "Argh," sometimes spelled with extra "h's" and even an exclamation point depending on the magnitude of her displeasure.
"I know. Arghhh," she wrote on July 1, 2008. Later in the day, she ratcheted up the sentiment: "Arghhhhh!"
"Arghhh. May something please bump us off the front page now?! :)," she wrote in response to a July 2008 press interview.
And about two weeks after she was selected as Sen. John McCain's 2008 running mate, she typed to her staff: "Arghhhh! I'm so sorry that this office is swamped like this! Dinosaurs even?! Ill try to run through some of these in my head before responding." (It was a reference to the flood of press inquiries the governor's communications aides were receiving during her first weeks on the campaign trail.)
Apart from Palin's language, the nearly 25,000 pages of Palin emails also reveal some of the former governor's tastes, quirks and habits
At times, Palin expressed a desire for "small bottles of champagne" and "low-carb foods."
In an email exchange on July 29, 2008, Palin's residence manager, Erika Fagerstron, told the governor she was heading to the store to buy "a couple of things for the house."
"Do you need anything?" Fagerstron asked, noting "I have formula (orange container/sensitive) and mocha stuff on my list."
Palin's response "Small bottles of champagne, low carb foods. Thanks!" Erika replied, "Sorry, but Im not sure what kind of low carb stuff to buy."
"It's cool," Palin wrote back. "I'll get to the store at some point here for that. Mainly, just dont want the kids to have too much sugar/white carb stuff."
As governor Palin received countless invitations to events throughout the state. Some were stranger than others, like an invitation from a Wasilla resident inviting Palin to her farm to see the filming of a movie.
"They are filming a 'psycho thriller' on the property and she wanted to know if you would like to stop by and say hello to the crew," the governor's deputy press secretary Sharon Leighow wrote in a July 2008 message
Palin did not respond to Leighow's message, but she did seem interested in another invitation sent a month earlier. That one was for a Wynona Judd concert being held at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage.
Palin agreed to speak on stage with the country singer and was curious about guest seating arrangement: "How many would u guess they's accomodate for me?" she asked an assistant. The aide said "six" and asked Palin if she wanted to take a bus to the base with other VIP concert-goers.
"I'd rather not ride the bus," Palin wrote back.
It also appears that Palin was not immune to receiving off-color jokes forwarded by others. In September 2009, she and more than a dozen other state government employees received a message with the subject line: "The indian with one testicle." It began, "There once was an Indian who had only one testicle and whose given name was 'Onestone.'"
In another exchange of messages, an aide attempted to get the governor's approval to use an old photo of her as "Miss Wasilla" in the opening video for a "Miss Alaska" pageant in which Palin is set to appear.
"Embarrassing. I'll pretend like I don't remember that episode," Palin tells her. "They can use the photo and I'll close my eyes."
And even the Alaska wildlife whose virtues Palin so often extolled as governor made an appearance in at least one message from Palin's Department of Labor commissioner, Click Bishop.
"Gov palin I had a close call with a bear one house from your house, Bishop wrote to Palin, telling her the encounter affected his "heart rate."
It was unclear if it was one of the Mamma Grizzlies that Palin would later make famous.